Harris Sportsthoughts

Thoughts about Sport

Musical Montage

with 2 comments

I’ve just been watching a compilation of highlights from the 1997-98 Premier League season set to “A Whole New World“, a cloying piece of music composed for the Disney film Aladdin. There are tears in my eyes. That is the immense emotional punch of the musical montage. Separately the footage and the song don’t have the capacity to stir, but together they form a powerful cocktail that reacts with that section of the brain controlling blubbing and throat-lumps.

The most seminal work in the field has been created by the BBC. Musical montages form part of their public service remit. I hope that in the seconds before I die, when my life streams before my eyes, it’s edited into a BBC musical montage. I have spent Olympic Games and Wimbledons waiting impatiently for the events to finish before enjoying the concluding montage. The segment following the 1992 Summer Games in Barcelona was so moving it was conceivable that R.E.M. had written “Everybody Hurts” specifically as an elegy for Derek Redmond‘s snapped hamstring.

Montages can be potently funny too. Consider the collection of clips broadcast at the end of the World Snooker Championship, mainly of “ball-hitting-another-ball-and-going-into-a-pocket-it-wasn’t-intended-for” scenarios, perhaps the most unhilarious happening in sport. But place a Scott Joplin ragtime classic over the action and you’ve collapsed to your knees, crumbling in laughter, pointing at the screen screaming “OMG, did you see that ball fall into a pocket it wasn’t supposed to?”.

The phenomenon extends to other non-sport television. I managed to avoid the last series of the Channel 4 Big Brother series until its final episode, during which a montage was aired. It largely consisted of people that I didn’t know and didn’t care about walking up the steps to leave the house in slow motion. Temper Trap‘s “Sweet Disposition” played. Chills coursed up my spine. With this faculty for making even the worst in society seem sympathetic, advertisers should rethink party political broadcasts and simply show clips of David Cameron or Ed Miliband chatting to kittens or making daisy-chains set to Coldplay or Elbow or other mawkish music.

Snazzy despot Colonel Gadaffi recognised the potential of the musical montage, using one to impress his paramour US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice. He cut photos together with a specially commissioned song called “Black Flower in the White House”. Rice described it as “strange and creepy”. Perhaps that was more of an ITV one.


Written by harrisharrison

November 16, 2011 at 8:57 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Elbow are not mawkish.


    November 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm

  2. Elbow are not mawkish.Period.


    November 24, 2011 at 7:59 pm

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